Hundreds of homicides committed by police officers in the United States between 2007 and 2012 had not been recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
After the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, talks of bringing more transparency to police killings have been in the spotlight. It turned out that more than 550 police killings from 2007 and 2012 were missing from the national tally, making it impossible to determine precisely how many people the police had killed during the reported period of time, Fox News said.
1,825 police killings were recorded internally by the 105 departments studied, but FBI data over the same period shows only 1,242 gun deaths, a difference of 47 percent, according to research conducted by the WSJ.
In addition, most police agencies are not obliged to provide the information about the police killings. From 2007-2012, 753 police agencies registered 2,400 killings by on-duty police officers, however another 18,000 police agencies did not provide the FBI with any data on police killings, according to the WSJ.
The killing of felons by law enforcement officers in the line of duty are known as “justifiable homicides”, indicated USA Today.
In 2013, the FBI published the Uniform Crime Report, which revealed that the police killed 414 people in 2009, 397 in 2010, 404 in 2011 and 426 in 2012. However, since the FBI did not count a number of police killings between 2007 and 2012, the true number is much higher, the Washington Post reported.
In contrast, police in other countries are less trigger-happy. Canada averages a dozen police shootings per year; Germany only had eight police killings over the last two years; while cops in Britain did not have a single “justifiable homicide” last year, according to the Washington Post.
Out of nearly 400 “justifiable homicides” per year, an average of 96 cases involved a white police officer killing a black person, the Washington Post reported. Other ethnic minorities and mentally ill people have much greater chances of becoming victims of police killings, the CNN said.